Emerson College Announces Partnership with Youth LEAD, a Local Non-Profit Youth Leadership and Development Program Mentored by Raj Sharma

Raj Sharma

BOSTON – Emerson College has announced a new partnership with the local non-profit organization Youth LEAD, with plans to expand the program’s innovative youth leadership and diversity training model in the Boston area.

Raj Sharma, chairman of the Youth LEAD Board and member of the Emerson Board of Trustees, said the organization is committed to the continued success of Youth LEAD in Sharon, MA while looking forward to the new opportunities that the partnership will create.

“This was a big idea for a small town, and it now needs a bigger platform. Emerson is that platform. Youth LEAD now has the capacity to flourish in the public schools in Boston and beyond,” said Sharma, a resident of Sharon, MA.

Raj Sharma

Established in 2004 in Sharon, every year Youth LEAD serves some 60 high schoolers who represent a diversity of backgrounds. The teens lead and engage in conversations, exploring dimensions of identity, about the most pressing issues of the day and work together to develop and implement community action projects. The program’s mission aligns directly with a core value for Emerson College: to establish deep and meaningful engagement with the community.

The new partnership, launched July 1, will create a close collaboration between Youth LEAD program administrators and the College’s Social Justice Center. All Sharon-based programming will continue as Emerson works to facilitate expansion of a sister program in the Boston area. Both programs will continue to focus on leadership development, community action, and peer facilitation for teens.

“Emerson’s partnership with Youth LEAD presents an exciting opportunity for the College to more deeply engage with our local youth. The skills they’ll develop as part of this program will help them navigate challenges within their own communities, as well as mobilize them to create change. Our plan to launch Youth LEAD in Boston will enable us to focus on young people who are less likely to have access to this kind of innovative and transformative program,” said Sylvia Spears, Vice President for Equity and Social Justice at Emerson College.

According to Spears, the pilot program in Boston will be developed for launch during the 2018-19 academic year and will seek to create synergies with existing youth programs in the city. In addition, organizers plan to host the program’s annual TIDE (Teenage Identity and Diversity Education) Conference on Emerson’s campus in the Spring of 2019, with the goal of attracting teens from Boston to learn more about Youth LEAD.

Based in Boston, Massachusetts, opposite the historic Boston Common and in the heart of the city’s Theatre District, Emerson College educates individuals who will solve problems and change the world through engaged leadership in communication and the arts, a mission informed by liberal learning. The College has 3,780 undergraduates and 670 graduate students from across the United States and 50 countries. Supported by state-of-the-art facilities and a renowned faculty, students participate in more than 90 student organizations and performance groups. Emerson is known for its experiential learning programs in Los Angeles, Washington, DC, the Netherlands, London, China, and the Czech Republic. The College has an active network of 39,000 alumni who hold leadership positions in communication and the arts.


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